digital library: Digital Resources for Educational Use
  Home Help Copyright Contact ARTstor Creating a Collection  

About the University of Colorado Digital Library

The University of Colorado Digital Library (CU-DL) is a collaborative project between the three campuses that make up the University of Colorado System (Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver), the Anschutz Medical Campus, and the Auraria Higher Education Center, which is comprised of the Community College of Denver; Metropolitan State College of Denver; and the University of Colorado Denver. The CU-DL is housed on a common platform, Luna Insight software, which allows for the creation of unique digital collections and collaborative collection development to provide faculty, staff, and students with digital content for teaching, learning, and research. The CU-DL includes a number of unique, locally created collections of digital objects and numerous digital collections created by other institutions that contribute content to Luna Insight software. The CU-DL also provides links to additional significant research resources on each campus, including ARTstor, a digital image library containing images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences.


September 2009: University Libraries published two new collections this summer. The Thomas Maclaren Architectural Drawings provides access to over 200 watercolors and pencil drawings made during his grand tour (ca. 1880). Once Upon a Time presents a three hundred year span of fairy tales, featuring five important works by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Giovanni Straparola.

Luna Insight

Luna Insight is a software system designed to ingest, store, manage, and display centralized collections of digital objects such as images, video, and sound files. Developed in 1993 with support from the J. Paul Getty Trust and Eastman Kodak Company, Luna Insight is cross-platform, offers a full suite of presentation tools, accommodates faculty personal collections, and allows access control to copyrighted collections.


ARTstor is a non-profit subscription service initiated by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to provide curated collections of digital images and associated data for noncommercial and scholarly, non-profit educational use. ARTstor became available in July 2004, and has over 1,000 U.S. and international institutions participating. It is currently comprised of over a million digital images and associated catalog data, and the tools to make active use of those images.

History: Digital Asset Management (DAM) at the University of Colorado

A CU system-wide Digital Asset Management Committee was convened in May 2004 to investigate the institutional transition from analog to digital materials in the educational environment. Two task groups were formed to address content and technology issues and a steering committee made up of representatives from the three campuses was created to oversee the project.

The Task Group on Content, whose charge was image-specific, investigated different options for acquiring digital content and studied and formulated recommendations on acquiring content, copyright and fair use in the digital world, and metadata standards for descriptive information about images. Much of its work revolved around exploring ways to achieve the “critical mass” of digital image content necessary to support faculty in teaching exclusively with digital images. This includes looking into commercial digital images, and an intensive investigation of ARTstor, a subscription-based digital image database. The group coordinated its efforts with those of the Task Group on Infrastructure to determine the best ways to access and retrieve digital images.

The Task Group on Infrastructure investigated software systems capable of serving as a common platform for digital asset management across CU. The group was asked to seek an enterprise solution that provided the best means of cataloging, searching for, retrieving, and presenting a variety of digital content, one which would also interoperate with other software platforms at the university. It established a comprehensive set of evaluative criteria, and investigated a number of software systems, concluding with a recommendation that the CU system select Luna Insight as its common software platform. The group continues to work on related issues, such as digital imaging standards, hardware, authentication and authorization, classroom equipment and support, software training and technical support for collection managers and end-users, and storage and backup of digital objects.

In February 2005, the task groups jointly recommended that the CU system subscribe to ARTstor as a means for acquiring initial digital content that would allow the system to create localized and unique digital collection, and select Luna Insight as the common software platform for digital asset management that would house the unique collections.

The University of Colorado Digital Library

The Digital Asset Management Steering Committee accepted the recommendations of the two task groups. In the fall of 2005, the three campuses of the CU system received funding for ARTstor’s archive capital fee from the President’s Initiative Fund, and the libraries on each campus agreed to pay the annual access fees. Two implementations of Insight have now occurred within departments and the CU-Boulder University Libraries, with multiple collections available for use. The CU-DL was formally launched in January of 2008.

One Insight implementation is a collaboration of three academic units on the Boulder and Denver campuses who share costs for servers, software and technical support: the College of Architecture and Planning, the College of Arts and Media, and the Department of Art and Art History maintain individual Insight image collections while purchasing and creating images and videos for educational use by all across the University of Colorado and Auraria campuses.

The other implementation resides in the CU-Boulder University Libraries. CU-Boulder University Libraries offers digital collections from unique holdings found in the Archives, Map Library, Music Library, and Special Collections Department.

  Home Help Copyright Contact ARTstor Creating a Collection